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Nanostructures

Materials

In the future, we might clean our clothes using nothing but light

Even though we no longer have to beat our clothes on rocks to get them clean, laundry is still a pretty tedious chore. If researchers at Australia's Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) have their way though, the amount of time we spend measuring capfuls of liquid, scraping out the lint filter and refolding our duds may soon get slashed thanks to a new coating that cleans fabrics whenever they're exposed to light.Read More

Medical

Cyborg cardiac patch offers alternative to heart transplants

An engineered cardiac patch has been created that incorporates human cells with flexible electronics and a nanocomposite structure to not only replace damaged heart tissue, but also provide remote monitoring, electrical stimulation, and the release of medication on demand. Using electroactive polymers and a combination of biological and engineered parts, the patch contracts and expands just like normal human heart tissue, but regulates those actions with the precision of a finely-tuned machine.Read More

Environment

Super-low loss quantum energy transport could revolutionize sunlight to energy conversion

The use of sunlight as an energy source is achieved in a number of ways, from conversion to electricity via photovoltaic (PV) panels, concentrated heat to drive steam turbines, and even hydrogen generation via artificial photosynthesis. Unfortunately, much of the light energy in PV and photosynthesis systems is lost as heat due to the thermodynamic inefficiencies inherent in the process of converting the incoming energy from one form to another. Now scientists working at the University of Bayreuth claim to have created a super-efficient light-energy transport conduit that exhibits almost zero loss, and shows promise as the missing link in the sunlight to energy conversion process.Read More

Materials

Hydrophobic nanostructures stay dry for months underwater

By mimicking naturally-occurring nanostructures found in things like water striders, spiders and lotus leaves, scientists have created hydrophobic surfaces that could prove invaluable for everything from pipes to boats and submarines. Now researchers at Northwestern University have deduced the optimal texture roughness required to achieve this property and keep surfaces dry underwater for months at a time.Read More

Materials

Graphene takes on a new dimension

Graphene is the modern go-to material for scientists and engineers looking to create all manner of new electronic devices. From ultra-frugal light bulbs (both big and small), to super-efficient solar cells, flexible displays and much more, graphene is a multi-tasking marvel. However, in all of these instances, graphene in its original form of atom-thin, flat sheets has had to be used with peripheral supports and structures because it lacks a solid shape and form of its own. Now researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have come up with a way of creating 3D objects out of graphene that opens up the possibility of fashioning a whole new range of innovative electronic devices.Read More

Medical

Tiny robotic hand-like grippers dissolve in the body after performing task

Creating swarms of soft, robotic hands that can safely dissolve within a living body once they've performed surgical procedures or delivered drugs just got a step closer thanks to work done by John Hopkins University scientists. They've created minute biodegradable microgrippers by adding stiff polymers containing magnetic nanoparticles to soft hydrogels, allowing them be magnetically guided to any location in the body. Read More

Science

Large 3D nanostructures built from Lego-like DNA bricks

The very same building blocks that make us have been successfully programmed to form 32 differently-shaped crystal structures. The structures feature a precisely-defined depth and a variety of sophisticated 3D nanoscale attributes, thereby laying further foundations for the use of DNA to revolutionize nanotechnology.Read More

Electronics

Breakthrough in LED construction increases efficiency by 57 percent

With LEDs being the preferred long-lasting, low-energy method for replacing less efficient forms of lighting, their uptake has dramatically increased over the past few years. However, despite their luminous outputs having increased steadily over that time, they still fall behind more conventional forms of lighting in terms of brightness. Researchers at Princeton University claim to have come up with a way to change all that by using nanotechnology to increase the output of organic LEDs by 57 percent.Read More

Science

Fractal nanostructures used to build new supermaterials

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology are developing a disruptive manufacturing process that combines nanoscale effects and ad-hoc architectural design to build new supermaterials from the ground up. The materials can be designed to meet predetermined criteria such as weighing only a tiny fraction of their macroscopic counterpart, displaying extreme plasticity, or featuring outstanding mechanical strength.Read More

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